Revolve Robotics and Sywed have collaborated to create a HIPAA compliant telepresence robot. The Kubi telepresence robot was developed by Revolve Robotics back in 2012. This compliance is actually quite important, particularly for critical situations. No longer does the doctor have to rely only upon what they see, or think they see, they can have data streaming directly to the app to help them make decisions. In smaller, rural hospitals or even in ambulances, this is going to be the best alternative to a specialist being there in person.
HIPAA compliance means that medical data can be streamed. A simple consultation with a doctor would not require this type of certification; similar to a telephone call. Once you start implementing data, however, you enter into a new realm of regulations. While the RP-Vita, by iRobot / InTouch Health, has HIPAA compliance as well, many hospitals cannot afford or implement such a full-blown solution. I did a test drive back when the Kubi was released and it was very easy to operate.
While there are lots of other telemedicine and telehealth apps out there as well, like Teledoc or Doctor on Demand, who provide consultations, The Kubi can further enhance those visits, allowing doctors to engage and look around, rather than relying upon the patient to hold or move their device. Certainly, there are some obstacles around what can actually be a charged service and how a doctor will get reimbursed. That will likely get solved, strangely enough, by lawmakers who seek out ways to reduce costs and save their budgets with these types of technologies.